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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Don’t blame the neti pot!

  • Since I have seen the netti pot be of great value in clearing up sinus problems, allergies, and stuffy noses, and even sinus infections, I was especially interested in the headlines that screamed “Neti Pot danger”.

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  • Since I have seen the netti pot be of great value in clearing up sinus problems, allergies, and stuffy noses, and even sinus infections, I was especially interested in the headlines that screamed “Neti Pot danger”.   A woman died who was using the neti pot.  As it turns out, the tap water she was using in it was infected with a deadly amoeba- Naegleria fowleri.    
    What bothered me about this report is the headline made the neti pot sound like the villain, when, in fact, it was the infected tap water.   This report was so damning to the neti pot that my granddaughter, who has used it for years with great success, was afraid to use it!   This is a perfect example of slanted reporting, blaming the wrong thing.  If the tap water is amoeba infected, I wouldn’t want to drink it!  A more appropriate headline would have been “Dangerous amoeba found in tap water”.  If this organism enters through the nostrils, as reported, who’s to say you couldn’t suck some into your nose as you drink.  I have known many people to get strangled while drinking water!  Blame the water—-not the neti pot.  You can simply buy a gallon of distilled water to keep on hand for use in the pot and no worries.                                                                      
    People with chronic sinus infections have cleared them up by using the neti pot on a regular basis just as they brush their teeth.  A friend considers her neti pot her most prized possession.  The neti pot irrigates the nose, washing out mucus and allergens.  It works with nature in clearing out what is causing the problem.  My dad managed his chronic sinus problems by irrigating his nostrils every day—with a glass of warm salt water.
    Like the yoga tradition, from which it originated, the neti pot has been used for centuries.  Thanks to an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show and other news coverage, its use is on the rise in the U.S.   It is a proven remedy that works with, rather than against nature.   
    Millions of Americans deal with sinus problems, and can be miserable with headaches, facial pain, clogged nasal passages.  Instead of opting for drugs, which treat symptoms, many people are using the neti pot.  Yes, it takes more effort than reaching for a pill or capsule, but it is getting to the cause of the problem, rather than merely treating symptoms.   
    To use the neti pot: 1. Mix a 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground non-iodized salt in 8 oz of lukewarm water.  Neti pots usually come with a good supply of pure salt in packets of the correct amount to use.  Use the purest salt available because impurities in the salt can be irritating.  2. Lean forward and turn your head to one side over the sink, keeping the forehead at the same height as the chin, or slightly higher.
    Page 2 of 2 - 3. Gently insert the spout in the upper nostril so it forms a comfortable seal.
    4. Raise the Neti Pot™ gradually so the saline solution flows in through your upper nostril and out of the lower nostril.  Breathe through your mouth.
    5. When the Neti Pot™ is empty, face the sink and exhale vigorously without pinching the nostrils.
    6. Refill the Neti Pot™ and repeat on the other side. Again, exhale vigorously to clear the nasal passages.
    7.  Drying the nose properly is a very important part of using the neti pot.  Never neglect to do this part.  The only person I know who did not get good results with the neti pot was one who did not know how to dry the nose following use.  People with high blood pressure should be careful with lowering the head.  If dizziness results when draining the nose, drying should be done standing upright.
     First bend forwards from the waist and hang the head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor, letting any residual water drain from the nose for 10 - 20 seconds. Then point the nose towards the knees. In each position, gently breathe in the mouth and out the nose about 10 times. A few droplets of water may run down.  Then stand up to do some rapid breathing through the nostrils. First do 10 breaths through both nostrils together, sniffing in and out moderately with a bit more emphasis on the exhalation. Then close off the right nostril with one finger and do 10 rapid sniffing breaths through the left nostril only. Then do 10 sniffing breaths through the right nostril only. Finally, do 10 breaths again through both nostrils together.
    All this should clear and dry the nose. If it feels as if there is still some water in there, repeat the whole drying process again. Failure to dry the nose properly may manifest the symptoms of a cold for several hours. Leaving dirty water in the sinus passages or Eustachian tubes may also result in infection.
    You can pull up videos and more information by typing “neti pot use” into your computer search engine.  
    (Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, taught home economics, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, has taught numerous health and nutrition classes, and wrote a weekly newspaper column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at janicenorris34@yahoo.com)

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